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Reaching the tipping point: A critical analysis of the #deletefacebook movement
Social media platforms have sustained increased scrutiny for their data management practices, spread of misinformation and the creation of consumer echo chambers. Chief among these platforms is Facebook. Yet, consumption of Facebook continues to grow. To understand this paradox, we use a dataset of unstructured text data to identify patterns within user-generated content (UGC) using the #deletefacebook hashtag. Nearly 1.5 million observations were used to identify themes and help paint a picture of the broader consumer concern relating to Facebook. The results show a continuing interest in the #deletefacebook topic as measured by volume over time. Using machine learning techniques, the text miner results identified topics which include privacy, consumer trust and wellbeing and politics of data security. Fear of missing out (FoMO) is provided as a theoretical explanation for why people continue using social media sites like Facebook. Themes related to social media fatigue, data management and ethics were also found in the UGC.
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Laura F. Bright is an Associate Professor of Media Analytics at the Stan Richards School of Advertising & Public Relations. Her research focuses on social media addiction and fatigue, Big Data and analytics, personalised advertising and digital privacy, and her work has been published in numerous peer-reviewed journals. She has spent over a decade working in the interactive advertising business and supports various companies and organisations to optimise their digital presence.
Kristen Leah Sussman is a doctoral student in the Stan Richards School of Advertising & Public Relations at the University of Texas at Austin, where she works as a Moody Fellow, teaching assistant and researcher. Sussman studies people and their behaviours in the areas of computer-mediated communication, social media and technology. Her research uses computational social science methods and contributes to scholarship that examines topics including media effects, privacy and political advertising, and engagement. Sussman has previously founded and owned one of the first social media agencies in Austin, TX.
Gary B. Wilcox is the John A. Beck Centennial Professor in Communication at the Stan Richards School of Advertising & Public Relations. He is also an associated faculty in the Department of Statistics & Data Sciences and the Center for Health Communication at UT Austin. Dr Wilcox holds a PhD from Michigan State University and two degrees from UT Austin. His recent research interests include unstructured data analysis, social media analytic models and advertising’s effects on alcohol products and brands.